Best of Enemies

A special edition of The Best of Enemies is the summer reading selection for Duke University’s incoming freshmen. The book, which had been out of print, chronicles Atwater’s relationship with the late C.P. Ellis, a one-time leader of the
Ku Klux Klan.

Another homage to Atwater’s influence on Duke and its students is the fact that the 14 members of the Duke Summer Reading program selection committee unanimously chose The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South by Osha Gray Davidson for the Class of 2011 to read in August. The book chronicles the evolution of the relationship between Atwater and former white supremacist C.P. Ellis, when the two served on city committees related to school desegregation.

Student Bronwyn Lewis, a member of the selection committee, describes the choice as “the quintessential Duke summer reading book.”

“Duke sends a very strong message, particularly to incoming students, by the book it chooses. Best of Enemies will provide a much-needed exposure to the early history of Durham and Duke’s unique position as the only top-10 research university in the American South,” Marie Lynn Miranda, Gabel associate professor of the practice in environmental ethics and sustainable environmental management, told The Chronicle.

The selection of the previously out-of-print book was made possible by the University of North Carolina Press, which arranged a custom reprinting, complete with an inset letter from Duke President Richard Brodhead. (UNC Press had already planned a reprint for next year, which means that all students will be able to buy the book when the next edition is issued.)